Friday, August 20, 2010

Bring the Aun'El, The Ethereals themselves accompany our campaigns

With the advice of some friends, I included an Ethereal into my list I brought to NOVA. He's a recent addition, so take what I have to say with an once of salt. I've played only 6 games with an Aun in my Cadre but so far he's proved his worth. The re-roll is very important when you're facing armies that have long range fire to knock out drones from your squads, causing morale checks. The re-roll can also be used on passed checks, so if you're being shot before an assault, you can use the re-roll to fail and fall back out of assault range and then use the re-roll next turn to help you re-group. It's a poor man's combat tactics.
The Ethereal also gives you a certain amount of protection against tank shock, which can really destroy a Tau force if done right. 

The main concern is losing your Ethereal and having your entire army take morale checks or run off the board. When considering this, it's important to look at the Ethereal in the context of your army and it's forces. In my case, I have a squad of 10 Fire Warriors that the Ethereal joins. This provides him with 10 ablative fearless wounds.
The Ethereal tends not to attract fire. He's such a small model and there are other larger threats in your army that an opponent is not going to waste fire trying to kill 10 Fire Warriors and then the Ethereal. It's actually a bonus for me if fire is wasted shooting the Ethereal. I can always go-to-ground if shooting gets rough. 
My Ethereal has only be shot at once in those 6 games, and only died once when I was getting tabled by Daemons anyway and he was the last one to go. 

Barrages are a concern but one what to mitigate this is setting your Ethereal and his squad right along the table edge in a long line. Any barrages will likely scatter and your proximity to the table edge translates to a high possibility for the shot to scatter off the board and miss completely. 
Behind Enemy Lines and the like abilities should be a concern as well. However, the solution is simple. Drop some drones off your Piranhas and Devilfish and use them to block the table edges and create a bubble wrap around your firebase. This is something you should be doing regardless of having an Ethereal or not. 
I believe the Ethereal's been written off as a horrible waste of 50 points and an HQ slot because he's been looked at in isolation. That's not to say he's a must have but in my recent Tau Cadre, he's been very helpful at keeping the Shas'la on the board. He must be used with caution but can be a real asset in an infantry-based Tau army with multiple small units.

7 comments:

tim said...

i wish i could afford an etheral, but i don't want to cut anything. he's only in my 2000 point list.

Pete W said...

Good post OSH and good thoughts on taking an underused unit and making it work well.

I think that 50 points is a small price to pay for such a useful set of abilities when running a non-mechanised force. Of course it depends on the size of the game but you would be foolish not to consider it.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

Well I wouldn't leave home without the 50 pts for Preferred Enemy for my Templars so maybe I can be persuaded ;)

Ld 7 - 21/36 or 58.3%
re-rolled 82.6%
Ld 8 - 26/36 or 72.2&
re-rolled 92.3%
Ld 9 - 30/36 or 83.3%
re-rolled 97.7%
Ld 10 - 33/36 or 91.7%
re-rolled 99.3%

Ld 7 jumps to near as 9
Ld 8 jumps to near as 10
Whilst Ld 9 & 10 become all but automatic o_0

Whilst the Ethereal isn't doing the killing that Accept Any Challenge Vow does, he has turned a flakey army into a solid one.
Considering Tau don't have And They Shall Know No Fear [which allows regrouping at below half strength] and therefore cannot afford to fail Morale tests in the first place, maybe the Ethereal is a good deal....?

As long as you aren't fighting at a points value where you need the 2nd Commander, he seems worthwhile.

Might as well get some use out of the Fire Warriors :D
Their 30" guns won't be too hampered by putting him out of harms way.

Remember that the Tau need LOS to the Ethereal to get the re-roll!

Aleksi Lehtio said...

Thank you for supporting the ethereal. When I looked at your Nova list, I realised it looked a lot like the 1500 points Tau army I play with an ethereal. I've been trying to say that the guy is worth it, especially when you have loads of battlesuits and broadsides, but I have failed to convince most of the people I talk to. The word of somebody as influential as you, will probably convince more people that he's a good buy.

jarv said...

Nice article.

I have a question regarding last photo - there are some tokens near kroot on hill, and near piranha on it - what are those? Can you Give us some more info about those OSH?

Old Shatter Hands said...

Jarv, Those tokens are objective markers. The NOVA Open had its own markers with its logo on them. Pretty neat. I think we all got some in our swag-bag.

Inquisitor M said...

I have to say that the last couple of posts you have made have really helped me in working out what i want to put into my tau cadre. your insight and the resources you bring in are truly helpful.
So thanks =)